Most SUV drivers don't actually need an off-road vehicle; but there are a few that do need something like a Toyota 4Runner, at least in one of its simpler or more rugged trims.
The Nissan Xterra might be the most direct rival; it's a five-seater only, but it's essentially a Frontier pickup with a wagon body, so it has real off-road strength.
Unfortunately, the Xterra isn't being renewed for 2016—but it might be back in the future.
The Jeep Wrangler still has the off-road chops, but it's on a different level in terms of refinement and features.
The Ford Explorer has a similar shape to the 4Runner, but it's gone full crossover, sharing running gear with the Taurus sedan.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is still a formidable all-terrain vehicle, especially with its new EcoDiesel engine, but it gets quite expensive quite easily—and who wants to ruin a really nice $50,000 SUV? The 4Runner has a corporate rival: its cousin, the Lexus GX 460, has the same underpinnings, but more luxury features and a V-8 engine.
The GX doesn't cost much more than the 4Runner Trail, but because of its complicated power-folding third-row seat and side-opening hatch, we'd rather have the Toyota.
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|2016 Toyota 4RunnerBrowse Used Listings||2016 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings||2016 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings||2016 Jeep WranglerBrowse Used Listings||2015 Nissan XterraBrowse Used Listings|
|17 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6|
|N/A||Standard SUV 2WD||Standard SUV 2WD||N/A||N/A|
|RWD 4-Door V6 SR5 (GS)||FWD 4-Door Base||RWD 4-Door 75th Anniversary||4WD 2-Door Willys Wheeler||2WD 4-Door Automatic X|
|Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Four Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2016 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2016 Ford Explorer||2016 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee||2016 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2016 Jeep Wrangler||2016 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2015 Nissan Xterra|